President Bola Tinubu on Saturday, September 20, 2023, launched the 7th edition of the National Youth Games, signifying the commencement of a week-long celebration of youthful talent and national unity.
The event which is held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, is poised to be an exuberant display of athleticism and camaraderie, featuring over 5,742 athletes from all 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, vying for glory across 35 diverse sports disciplines.
The inauguration ceremony was a momentous occasion attended by dignitaries and sports enthusiasts from every corner of the nation.
President Tinubu, represented by the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, made an impassioned plea for unity and sportsmanship among the participating states.
“Let these Games stand as a testament to our commitment to fostering friendship and unity among our great states,”.
President Tinubu declared, underscoring the pivotal role of the National Youth Games in nurturing a sense of togetherness and unwavering dedication to the nation’s interests. He urged all participants, including officials and athletes, to compete with fairness and a spirit of national pride.
On his part, Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori used the occasion to reaffirm the state’s status as a sports hub in Nigeria. Commending the National Youth Games for their consistent contribution to talent discovery and national unity, Governor Oborevwori pledged a peaceful and thrilling competition.
He assured attendees of comprehensive arrangements to ensure seamless movement within the city.
He also underscored the broader significance of sports in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing how sports can foster tolerance, respect, and social inclusion, ultimately contributing to the economic and social well-being of society.
The Governor concluded by tagging the state as a sports mecca, because of its impressive track record of hosting national and international sporting events.
in his own address, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, expressed his gratitude to Delta State for hosting the National Youth Games for the first time.
He stressed the Games’ vital role in discovering young talents and the government’s unwavering commitment to nurturing them. He highlighted the Games’ role in fostering national unity by bringing young athletes from diverse regions together.
In a symbolic gesture of peace, friendship, and positive ideals, Senator Enoh presided over a traditional kolanut-breaking ceremony. He called on athletes and states to work together, compete in harmony, and deepen their understanding of one another. The Minister also highlighted the potential benefits of the National Youth Games for both Delta State and the nation.
The Executive Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission (DSSC) and President of the Athletics Federation Nigeria (AFN), Hon. Tonobok Okowa, extended a warm welcome to athletes, coaches, officials, and journalists attending the event. He emphasized Delta State’s unwavering commitment to hosting the Games for the next four editions, setting high standards for sports in Nigeria.
With the 7th National Youth Games officially underway, a week of sporting excellence and unity lies ahead. The event promises to be a platform for young athletes to shine and for the nation to come together in the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie. With 35 sports disciplines on the agenda and thousands of athletes from across Nigeria, the National Youth Games are set to captivate the nation and celebrate the boundless potential of its youth.